A Cross-Cultural Experience of Microaggression in Academia: A Personal Reflection

Munacinga Simatele


Microaggression is defined as subtle and often unconscious or automatic actions or statements made towards a discriminated group. It causes distress, anxiety and isolation. Microaggression can often lead to demoralisation and a feeling that one is in a constant psychological warfare. It is also ubiquitous in nature. This paper is a reflection on my experiences of microaggression as a black female academic gathered from working in six universities across five countries and two continents. I use autoethnography underscored by critical race theory thinking. The reflection has a multicultural face and is done in light of the extant literature on gendered, racial and non-native microaggression in the academic world. I find close similarities in my experiences with others. I conclude that microaggressions are ubiquitous and are inevitable in a multicultural setting. Victims need to acknowledge microaggressions and be assertive in order to mitigate the associated negative effects. Further, counterspaces provide a very useful platform for challenging the inaccuracy of victims’ lived experiences and serve as a source of validation.


microaggression; prejudice; gender; race; non-native; academia; counterspaces

Full Text:


DOI: https://doi.org/10.25159/1947-9417/3132

Copyright (c) 2018

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.